Today’s session of running contacts involved trying to phase out the use of the toy. Sparrow normally runs down the contact to a click and treat box, now we want to have her driving from the dogwalk onto another obstacle. Naomi was helping me today (thanks Naomi!), she has been helping me iron out the tricky bits of re-teaching a running contact. Naomi had the toy on the far side of the jump. I sent Sparrow down the dogwalk and if she got the contact she was rewarded once she had done the jump.
Initially Sparrow was good, but she then began to ping. For every miss we just did the down plank. We had some good runs, but a lot of misses. We took a break and I had time to think. I started to wonder if, because Sparrow was looking up at the jump, she was leaving the contact early. To test my theory we went back to placing the toy on the ground and, at once, the good contacts returned.
So, we now need to encourage Sparrow that she can do contacts and move on to other obstacles as well. After reviewing Silvia Trkman’s DVD, I have a plan for how to rearrange the set-up to encourage her to improve.
We also worked on Sparrow’s A-frame. We have encouraged her speed, but she has lost her contact. We added a strider to the frame and Sparrow began to hit consistently. We then added more and more speed, while I worked at distance. The result was some awesome contacts and one miss. Lol, she really jumped that one!
We are moving forward step-by-step, and the journey is becoming increasingly exciting. We’ll crack these contacts, sooner rather than later.